Yo, I made a video! Actually Matt Francis made the video while I walked around with a microphone and interrupted people, since I was already in Texas for the introduction of Dunlop’s new Q3+ Sportmax tire anyway. The MO wheel grinds slow but fine; this took place in April, before the MotoAmerica race season even got started. But I guess you could already sort of tell how things were going to go – much the way they’ve been going since Monster Yamaha and Yoshimura Suzuki became the only serious factory teams. Still fun to watch.
In this corner, you have Jake Gagne and the new Broaster Chicken Honda team, hoping for mysterious race parts to rain down from Japan or at least from Ten Kate in Holland (as Jake and crew struggled with the bike’s stock electronics), along with a smattering of other private teams like Westby Racing and Bobby Fong on his Kawasaki ZX-10R. And in the other corner (actually right in the middle and occupying their 800-pound gorilla share of pit space), the factory Yamahas and Suzukis.
Wishing to take no chances with the new GSX-R’s success, Suzuki had more people manning the computer screens than any of the other satellite teams had for their entire teams. The effort seems to have paid off judging from the results so far in MotoAmerica Superbike competition: Yoshimura Suzuki 435, Monster Energy Yamaha 289.
Tires of course are just one cog in the machine, and while everybody was still sorting out other problems, it was pretty interesting for me to talk to Dunlop’s race tire guru Tony Romo to find out a little bit about what goes on to make sure everybody’s as happy and as safe as possible where the actual rubber meets the road.
There was a lot of opposition when all the big-time racing organizations went to spec tires, i.e., a single manufacturer. But John Ulrich, née of Cycle World and currently of Roadracing World, put it all in perspective for me when he said, “Well, spec tires means less tires blowing up and less people getting killed.”
Too true. I need to remember to ask Tony Romo for the story about when Anthony Gobert’s tire blew out that day when they still raced the big track at Daytona. He was there. So was I, in fact, but nobody much wanted to talk about it at the time. Or after.
Without further ado, here it is, with a star-studded cast including four-time Superbike champ Josh Hayes and a few other people. Say, did anybody read this or did they just watch the video? Maybe we should just do videos from now on, there’s a lot less typing involved.